The Emperor's Code (The 39 Clues Series #8)

The Emperor's Code (The 39 Clues Series #8)

by Gordon Korman


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Tensions run high in the explosive 8th book of 39 Clues, the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

One belief has sustained fourteen-year-old Amy Cahill and her younger brother, Dan, on their hunt for the 39 Clues: They are the good guys. But then a shocking discovery about their parents shatters everything Amy and Dan think they know, dividing the two siblings for the first time ever. When Dan disappears in a country of more than a billion people, Amy has to make a terrible choice - find the next Clue . . . or find her younger brother.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780545060486
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 04/06/2010
Series: 39 Clues Series , #8
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 92,524
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Gordon Korman is the #1 bestselling author of three books in The 39 Clues series as well as eight books in his Swindle series: Swindle, Zoobreak, Framed, Showoff, Hideout, Jackpot, Unleashed, and Jingle. His other books include This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall! (published when he was 14); The Toilet Paper Tigers; Radio Fifth Grade; Slacker; Restart; Whatshisface; Level 13; the trilogies Island, Everest, Dive, Kidnapped, and Titanic; and the series The Hypnotists and On the Run. Gordon grew up in Thornhill, Ontario and he lives in New York with his family. Visit him online at

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The sneezing began the instant the pet carrier passed the passenger's nose.

A-choo! . . . a-choo! . . . a-choo! . . .

Frozen in the aisle of the British Airways 777, Amy and Dan Cahill waited for the spasm to end. It never did. Instead, the sneezes grew in intensity, each wheezing explosion shaking the poor man's entire body.

"It can't be that bad!" Dan said impatiently.

Inside the carrier, Saladin looked around anxiously, unnerved by the ruckus. "Mrrp?"

Nellie Gomez, the Cahill kids' au pair, came up behind them. With her iPod blaring the Ramones full blast, all she saw was the man squirming in watery-eyed distress. "I told you the taco stand was serving habanero peppers!" she announced too loudly.

Her booming voice drew the flight attendant to their row. She spoke to the sneezer in Chinese and then turned to Amy and Dan. "It seems Mr. Lee is allergic to cat hair. Your pet will have to ride in the cargo hold."

"But they let us keep him on the connecting flight from Madagascar," Amy protested.

By this time, Nellie had switched off her iPod. "Can't Mr. Lee move to another seat?"

"I'm sorry. The flight is completely full."

Saladin did not go quietly. The Egyptian Mau's outraged mrrps resounded through the cabin until the boarding door was closed.

Mr. Lee blew his nose as Amy and Dan squeezed past him into their seats. Nellie settled herself one row behind them, lost once again in her iPod.

"How lame is this?" Dan complained, already fidgeting, even though the plane had yet to pull back from the gate. "Our second million-hour flight in a row, and we don't even have Saladin. What could be worse?"

Their eyes met for about half a second, and then they both looked away. It was a stupid question, and Dan knew it. What could be worse? This was the definition of worse-the real reason Dan's mood was misery-minus, and why Amy had no patience for him. It had nothing to do with long flights and cats.


After all these weeks, Amy and Dan had finally solved the mystery of which branch of the Cahill family they belonged to. Not the scheming and brilliant Lucians, masters of strategy. Not the creative geniuses, the Janus. Not the physically dominant Tomas, descended from warriors. Not the innovative Ekaterinas, the greatest inventors the world has ever known.

No. All these weeks circling the globe in the hunt for the 39 Clues, Amy and Dan had been Madrigals.

Madrigals. The worst of the worst. Madrigals had slaughtered the Russian royal family in the course of a killing spree that spanned continents. Their tools of the trade: stealth, sabotage, deceit, murder, and above all, terror. Even the Lucians feared the Madrigals-and everyone was afraid of the Lucians.

It's like living your whole life without ever looking in a mirror, Amy thought, and suddenly you see your reflection, and you're a monster.

How could they have been Madrigals without knowing it? All the way from Africa they had repeated that question, hammering themselves with it, hoping against hope that if they asked it enough, the answer might change from the awful truth.

But Madrigals were so secretive that they even kept secrets from themselves. Amy and Dan's grandmother, Grace, must have been a Madrigal, too. After the death of their parents, she'd been their closest relative in the world. Yet she'd never said a word about it to them.

Now Grace is gone, too, Amy reflected sadly. She and Dan were alone-except for Nellie. And, of course, Saladin, their grandmother's cherished pet.

They had barely gotten used to the idea that they were members of the illustrious Cahill family. The search for the 39 Clues still seemed unreal to them-a chance for two Boston orphans to become the most powerful people in human history! Yet this was the ultimate shocker. Their mom and dad must have been Madrigals, too. Did that mean they were evil?

Amy had been soul-searching a lot lately, trying to see clearly what was inside her own heart. It wasn't all sweetness and light. Anger at the dirty tricks of the hunt. Isabel-just the name of her parents' killer kindled a heat shimmer that distorted her vision.

Isabel, who had held her as a child. Who had called her dear and played the part of the loving aunt.

Isabel, who had taken two happy kids and turned them into orphans . . .

Revenge!! It was more emotional surge than rational thought, the revving of a supercharged engine. It was so automatic, so pure, that it could only have come from the Madrigal at her core.

When you're evil, can you recognize it in yourself?

Aloud, she said to her brother, "Try to sleep. We're going to be jet-lagged like crazy when we get to China."

"I slept all the way from Africa," Dan grumbled.

The plane backed away from the gate, and the safety demonstrations began. "Shortly after takeoff, we invite you to enjoy the video entertainment on your seat-back screen," came the announcement. "Our first feature film is entitled Terminator Salvation."

"Yes!" Dan plucked the headphones out of the seat pocket. "Finally, something goes our way!"

"Your dweeb-hood will be studied by future generations," Amy informed him solemnly.

"Don't knock it," he lectured. "Good luck is like a rash. It spreads. Maybe we'll get on a roll." He popped the phones over his ears as the 777 taxied through the airport traffic, rumbled down the runway, and took off.

London fell away beneath them, yet another city. Mr. Lee clutched his armrest, knuckles whitening with every bump and roll. But Amy and Dan were now experienced flyers who barely noticed the turbulence. In the space of weeks, two kids who had never left New England had visited more than a dozen countries on five different continents.

Dan reclined his chair and focused on the entertainment system in front of him. But when the screen came to life, it showed not the heart-pounding opening of Terminator Salvation but scenes of an ornate palace.

"What the-" Dan flipped through the channels. The palace was on every station.

"What's the problem?" Amy hissed.

"Where's the Terminator?"

Amy activated her own screen and peered at the palace scene. "I know this movie-" All at once, her expression softened. "It's The Last Emperor. I've seen it two or three times-with Grace."

A lump materialized in her throat. In the heat of the Clue hunt, it was easy to forget that it had been less than two months since Grace Cahill's death.

Grace . . . Madrigal . . . It was no misunderstanding. They'd even seen her secret Madrigal hideout.

I don't care! I loved her . . . still love her . . .

Dan was in no mood for sentimentality. "Man, they put on the wrong movie!" As he reached for the flight attendant call button, he caught sight of the monitor in front of their allergic neighbor. There was the Terminator, in all his futuristic glory.

In dismay, Dan climbed halfway over the seat back and gawked at the upside-down cyborg on Nellie's screen. "Everybody's getting Terminator but us!"

Amy frowned. "Why would only two seats be showing something different?"

"There's an international conspiracy to bore me," mourned her brother.

Beneath the passenger concourses of Heathrow churned a beehive of activity. Down at the tarmac, an army of mechanics and baggage handlers kept one of the world's busiest airports humming.

Several maintenance people were enjoying a tea break when they noticed a new man in the locker room. He was older than the others-probably in his late sixties. As he shrugged out of his coverall, they observed that he was very well dressed in a cashmere blazer, turtleneck, and slacks, all black. Careful scrutiny would have revealed that his ID badge was counterfeit. He did not work here. He did not work anywhere.

Although none of the employees recognized the man in black, Amy and Dan would have. He had dogged their footsteps across more than half the globe.

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The Emperor's Code (The 39 Clues Series #8) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 144 reviews.
LauraFabiani More than 1 year ago
And so the hunt for the 39 clues continues, culminating in another revelation at the end of this book with enough unanswered questions to leave the reader anxious to read the next book. For the first time, 11 year-old Dan Cahill gets separated from his 14 year-old sister Amy Cahill and their au pair Nellie Gomez in China, a country with a population of over one billion people. Dan inadvertently joins Jonah Wizard and we learn more about this character, the Janus branch, and his role in the search for the 39 clues. I love the relationship between Dan and his sister. We get to see how it is tested once again at this point in the story and how much they care for one another. Two scenes in this book reveal their characters when faced with choices to beat their opponents. The historical figures that lead us to the next clue are Puyi, China's last emperor, and George Mallory. I really enjoyed the setting of this book, and although the last nail-biting scene was a little far-fetched, it's what marks The 39 Clues as an adventurous roller-coaster ride filled with interesting historical and scientific tidbits. Unlike the other books, this one also contains a message within the book that is conveyed by putting together the 17 words circled throughout the book. They form three sentences. Two more books left in this series and I am eager to find out how it will all come to a finish. For fans of The 39 Clues this book will not disappoint. It builds up expectation for what will come next . and for the climactic ending, no doubt.
SuperBookish More than 1 year ago
Got it as gift. It was great. loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an absolute thrilling book from beginning to end. The book takes you on an adventure around the world with two children Dan and Amy and their chase to find the 39 clues. The book is the 8th in a set of 10 that take you on a thrilling chase around the world. These books are more for a 4th grade or older reading level. I originally started buying them for my daughter thinking she would like to read them when she got older and so I decided to read them myself. My husband also loves them and we can't wait till the next one comes out. These books remind me of the movie national treasure with all the ways that the clues are all set in history. Definatly a set that you will want to buy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay well I love this book, it's advetures with a hint of mystery.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the the 39 clues series and all the little events that happen in them. Absolutly THRILLING!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it. Adventures and mysteries on the cahill's family secret.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Try this book its great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is awesome! I also like the Alex Rider Series. It is like the same thing though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book makes you turn the page and keep reading every second of the day so if you havnt bought it yet you should you will love it.
39-DND-Mystery More than 1 year ago
It was very cool. I cant wait for the 9th and 10th books to come out. BEWARE THE MADRIGALS!!!!!
InTheBookcase More than 1 year ago
The Cahill family hits China for the next clue in the worldwide hunt, encountering the famous terracotta warriors. A rift between the siblings ensues and secrets spill out. The Cahills won't ever be the same after realizing a new discovery about what the 39 Clues signify.  Not to give away one of the big landmarks in the story, but I absolutely loved the adventure Amy and Dan had after leaving China. (For those of you who have read it >>> The mini-adventure makes me excited to read Korman's trilogy on the same topic, because he seems so knowledgeable of the facts.) Definitely a favorite of mine from this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this installment of the 39 clues series, the clue hunt takes Amy and Dan Cahill to China. After a huge fight, Dan storms away from Amy, with disaterous results. Dan is kidnapped by the Kabras, then dropped into a factory. When Dan doesnt come back, Amy starts to get worried, but only later realizes that Dan was kidnapped. A search ensues, with no results. Amy and the Cahill's au pair, Nellie Gomez have a hunch that Dan might have fallen into Jonah Wizard's hands, and continue on the clue hunt, hoping that Dan would do the same, so they could be reunited. Amy and Nellie's hunch is correct: the factory that Dan was dumped into belonged to Jonah Wizard, and it just so happened that Jonah was taking a tour of the factory that day. Jonah finds Dan, and they team up to find the next clue. Will Amy and Dan be reunited? Will they find the next Clue? All the questions will be answered in the Emperor's Code, by Gordan Korman. Oh, and Hope Lost, you wouldnt know a good book if it bit your bum and held on until thursday! So STOP WRITING LAME REVIEWS!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
39 clues is the best sieries EVER!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have not read it yet but I hear it is good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This s a amazing book. It has so many fun things in it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is awesome!! It seems to have the perfect balance of action and mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is awesome i like how the series rotates authors
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is fantastick it is so real
Guest More than 1 year ago
Got my 11 year old interested in a series and held his interest too.
Katherine Siddall More than 1 year ago
All the authors who wrote these books are talented writers. Loved every book i read so far and ik im not going to be dissappointed. A must read series. Lots of action in this book. Loved how amy cares for her little bro dan. So cute. Great book. Highly reccomneded.
corina526 More than 1 year ago
My son loves this series and he gets online and plays the games there as well. He has grown to love reading! He started with this series and is just reading non-stop now!
read4ever More than 1 year ago
This eighth installment in the 39 Clues was a fabulous book! In fact, I'd say that this was one of my favorite books in the whole series! Once again, Gordan Korman, who also wrote book two "One False Note," did a great job adding to this series that seems to keep on surprising all of it's readers!
Crazybooks123 More than 1 year ago
i cannot wait for the newest 39 clues book. i personally think it might be the best. the climax explodes with madrigals and other family rivals are looking for the ultimate clue.